“Flowers for Algernon” is about a man named Charlie Gordon who is mentally retarded. Charlie signs up for an experiment that is supposed to make him smarter. He wants to be like everyone else. To do the experiment he has to keep a journal showing his progress. Charlie starts out spelling almost every word wrong.

Charlie’s family and friends have all made fun of him; his parents gave him to his uncle when he was ten. The experiment starts to work and Charlie gets smarter and he starts realizing new things. Before the operation, his imagination and his brain weren’t working that well.

His imagination started to work for the first time when he got this operation. Now that he was smart, he could quit his old job of working as a janitor at a bakery and start working for the hospital full time. Charlie soon becomes aware that his smartness may not stay forever, that he might lose his genius. He starts to research the experiment himself.

He studies a little mouse named Algernon who they did the experiment on first. Charlie starts to become attached to the little white mouse. Together they are the smartest of their species. When Charlie and Algernon have to go to Chicago for an interview, Charlie gets so frustrated at how all the scientists are talking as if before the operation Charlie wasn’t a real person. In his frustration he accidentally on purpose let Algernon go.

The scientists freaked out and started looking for Algernon. They were in a huge building and most of the doors in the room they were in were open. Charlie was the first to find Algernon, and he put Algernon in his pocket and left the building. They went to the airport and flew home, leaving the scientists baffled as to where Algernon was.

Charlie worked hard trying to discover how long his smartness would last. While studying Algernon, he noticed that he was becoming jumpier and that he would attack Charlie sometimes. Charlie wondered whether this was because of the experiment. Algernon got worse and he refused to do the mazes and to work. After a few weeks, Algernon died.

Tests showed that Algernon’s brain had started to shrink, causing him to die. Charlie’s intelligence started to fall. Slowly he lost it all, from foreign languages to math equations to reading and writing. He started to forget things and feel like the old Charlie. He knew that the only thing that he really wanted to keep was being able to read and write. In about a month he had lost it all. He didn’t know what to do. With much hesitation, he signed himself for the local retarded hospital.

He had had everything and lost it in a matter of weeks! The climax in the story is when Charlie realizes that he is going to lose his brilliance and that he himself has to discover the cure or else it will be gone forever. The main characters are Charlie, Mrs. Kinnian, the two doctors who work on Charlie, Algernon, and the workers at the bakery. The book is set in a semi-major city somewhere in New England. The book has many lessons, the main one being that ignorance is bliss, and the less you know the less will bother you.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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